George joins Porter Novelli as global director of health

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has hired Paul George as its global director of health, effective January 1 - he will be the third person to hold the post in as many years.

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has hired Paul George as its global director of health, effective January 1 - he will be the third person to hold the post in as many years.

In addition to his global role, George will lead the healthcare practice of the agency's New York office. Prior to joining Porter Novelli, George spent five years at sister Omnicom firm Fleishman-Hillard's TogoRun agency, most recently as SVP and partner. In that role, he led international integrated communications programs for companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gilead.

“My priority is to build on the momentum that the heritage of Porter Novelli has established, an agency that's launched meaningful programs,” George said. “I want to take that to the next level.”

He replaces Susan Hayes, who left Porter Novelli this fall to join the Obama reelection campaign. She held the post for just under a year and half and replaced Barbara DeBuono, who left after less than two years at the firm to lead Orbis International, a New York-based nonprofit.

George said he isn't nervous about the track record of the position, noting he feels confident that, between the leadership of Karen van Bergen, senior partner, managing director, Porter Novelli New York, and his global PR experience, his time at the agency will be a success.

“She really does have a vision of what she wants to achieve and is an incredible new business driver,” George added.

Van Bergen joined the firm in January 2012. “[George] brings international experience and that is exactly what we needed and probably didn't have enough of,” she said.

Both noted that a unique attribute George brings is his willingness to collaborate and, as a result, it's likely there could be an increase in Porter Novelli teaming up with practices at other Omnicom firms on projects.

“That level of integration and collaboration is only going to help all the brands,” George said.

He also notes the trend of drug companies downsizing their communications teams, while still having a strong need to get messages out.

“They are looking for the best teams that have an understanding of issues like regulation, market access, and advocacy,” George said.

Prior to his time at TogoRun he spent nearly 10 years with CPR Worldwide/Fleishman-Hillard in London and New York, leading internal and external global marketing communications programs for clients including GSK, AstraZeneca, Servier, and Sanofi.

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